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How To Optimize Vector Graphics For Print

by eshley jackson Tweet - in Graphic Design

Vector Graphics

Last updated on September 13th, 2021

A chief characteristic of vector graphics is that it adapts to any resolution of your printing device or screen. These images can respond to different screen sizes of desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. This means that a brand can ensure the highest quality of the images for websites for all the devices. What is more, you can use such images for print with high image quality assured.

Vector graphics are known for their higher-quality scalable image. That’s why these images are commonly used for T-shirt printing, etc. But there are several other advantages of vector design. You can easily edit these images. All you need to do is to split them into the simplest geometric shapes. You can tweak this shape. There will not be any loss of image quality.

Vector images are scalable which means even if you blow them up to bigger sizes, still they retain their quality. So, there is no adverse impact of compression, rotation, and drawing on the images. Another reason for the popularity of vector images is that they take very little disk space.

What Are Vector Graphics?

Graphic design image file formats are primarily either raster or vector. Raster graphics are built on either bits or pixels. You cannot increase the number of pixels to an already formed image; therefore, these images are not scalable. Conversely, instead of pixels, vector images are mathematical equations.

A vector image is based on basic geometrical elements. The basic construction structure of the image is made of points, lines, and shapes. This is why you can scale up the images such as graphics, illustrations, and logos to any size. But you need to convert vector files of any size to raster files to use the images on the web or to print. A sequence of command places the lines and shapes in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space.

What Are Vector Graphics

File formats for vector graphics are — SVG, EPS, and PDF. These files produce sharp printed images.

Vector graphics are versatile images that you can manipulate in many ways. You can use vector graphics with imagery to create great artworks and backgrounds.

Optimizing Vector Graphics For Print

Most experts opine that vector art is ideal for printing. For T-shirt printing, vector design is considered the best. This is because a series of mathematical curves make this art. When you print the artwork, it will show up every minute detail and will look crispy. You can resize the artwork as per your requirements.

Optimizing Vector Graphics For Print

For instance, you can print your vector logo on a tiny sheet of paper. Then, you can enlarge the logo to a bigger size and keep the high image quality. This is in contrast to a low-resolution raster image that blurs when scaled up. It is because of vector files that even written text is scalable to any size.

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For Plot Printing, Vector Graphics Are A Must

Plot printing is common for the printing of design on T-shirts and other things. If a good vector graphic has no more than 3 colors, then plot printing format is perfect.

The printers use a machine for plot printing. This machine punches out the design on a color foil with a plotting knife. So, all the shirt printing color is cut out from its foil.

For Plot Printing, Vector Graphics Are A Must

It generates non-required pieces of film which are removed to weed the design. You now have the design.

You can then position the t-shirt vector design by hand. Then, press the design under heat and pressure.

After that, peel off the carrier film to get the design on the shirt.

Requirements For Plot Printing Of Vector Designs

Generally, for plot printing, vector size design should not exceed 15 x 15 inches, while many sites consider 11 x 11 inches as the ideal size.

Requirements For Plot Printing Of Vector Designs

The diameter of parts of the design such as vector lines should be at least 0.06 inches.

A plotter shirt printing can print up to three colors maximum.

Each Color In A Design Should Be A Separate Layer

The text and objects to be printed should be converted into paths.

You should close all the curves completely. Do not let them overlap each other.

Each Color In A Design Should Be A Separate Layer

How To Measure And Increase The Line Thickness?

During the weeding process, which is about the removal of undesirable pieces of the film, ensure that the parts of the design are thicker. The thinner lines are likely to tear in the weeding stage and make print motif unstable.

How To Measure And Increase The Line Thickness

In case there are gaps in the whole parts of the motif are very small, they are likely to be overlooked during the wedding process. They become difficult to detect. Moreover, these fine vector lines do not stick to the shirt, and so they may peel off.

For these reasons, make sure that you keep the motif diameter of at least 0.06 inches. Also, the gaps between the elements should be no less than 0.04 inch which must be kept in mind while using software like a T-shirt maker.

Measuring The Line Width

Since your motif width must be thick, you should sure about measuring it correctly. To check it, first make a circle of 0.06 inches diameter. Then, place this circle on the top of the line that is the thinnest in your motif.

Measuring The Line Width

Similarly, repeat this method with a circle of 0.04-inch diameter to measures the gaps. A gap is big enough if the circle fits inside it. However, when increasing your line width, it is essential to note that your design should not be greater than 15 x 15 inches. These are the things to pay heed to when you use a shirt maker tool to create the design on your own.

How To Check And Close Curves?

When optimizing vector graphics for print, another thing to consider is about closing the curves. The plotter machine punches out the design. But in doing so, the machine may cut out the printing film along the curves.

The machine tries to close the open ends that it detects in a curve. It searches for any nearby anchor point and cuts a straight line down to the point. If the curves remain unclosed, it will result in defects in the design.

How To Check And Close Curves

Therefore, make sure that you have converted all the design parts, including that of your logo design, into curves. If there are uncovered elements, they will be left out, and will not get printed. This is because the printer will not simply recognize those elements.

You should use the ‘’combine” and ‘’graphics” function in your graphics program to close all the curves. No element should overlap. If there are elements that overlap, then remove them.

Lower The Number Of Anchor Points

It is advised to use fewer anchor points while creating vector graphics. Give preference to one start point and one end-pint for a straight line, which is sufficient to create this line. Remember that there should be a maximum of 2000 anchor points per color and a maximum of 6000 for a three-colored motif.

Note that if there are more than enough anchor points on a line, it may result in the design looking messy. This is because it results in many changes happening in direction. Moreover, cutting out along the curves also takes a lot of time.

So, these are the key things to keep in mind when optimizing vector graphics for print. Pay heed to each aspect and ensure that you follow the tips correctly.

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To Sum Up

Vector graphics are entirely scalable, and they are resolution-friendly on all devices and screens. But when putting them to print, you need to consider some basics for the desired results. The line thickness, anchor points, closing the gaps and curves matter the most.

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Hey guys, Eshley this side. So good to see you! I am a graphic designer in her 20s, who's still learning. And I love to share what I've learnt, via blogging. As a crazy experimenter, you can count on my insights to level up your game with graphic designing, social media marketing, SEO, startup strategies and e-commerce. When I am not writing, I read, so I can write more..



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